From defense to playful offense: The evolution of Filipino humor in Bubble Gang (1996-2015)
Keywords:Bubble Gang, Filipino humor, semiotic resources, multimodal discourse analysis
This paper examined the evolution of humor in the Philippine sketch comedy television series, Bubble Gang. It is a content analysis of fifty videos of selected sketches from eleven popular segments of the comedy show utilizing Berger’s (1993) Semiotic Theory of Humor and Kress and van Leeuwen's (2006) Social Semiotic Multimodal Discourse analysis. Results showed that Filipinos can find amusement from the most trivial to the most political and serious and even in the most absurd situations. Although a certain modality, such as the linguistic mode, is dominant in certain segments, the sketches integrate verbal, visual and aural semiotic resources to heighten the humorous impact. More importantly, the varied semiotic resources are ingeniously manipulated to ferry ideological intent. However, while humor in the first decade is liberating, the study unravels an eroding value of satire for social commentary particularly in the second decade as the comedy show employs some pseudo-satirical strategies. It was concluded that multimodality, particularly visual semiotic resources, engenders the ‘playful offense’ and trivialization in the sketches. More studies on Filipino humor in other multimodal media where utilization of verbal and nonverbal resources is more balanced are then recommended.
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